The Bookworm Beat 12/17/14 — Hanging in by the skin of my teeth edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI sometimes wonder if my family’s entered into a secret compact to keep me away from my computer. I’ve gone from having five hours or so to myself every day from Monday to Friday to having perhaps two hours to myself for the entire week.  It’s hard to think sometimes.

Of course, my week’s gone a whole lot better than Sony’s week. It isn’t every day, is it, that a whole studio is forced to cave to blackmail and threats? While I don’t think Sony should have caved (more on that in a minute), I think much of the blame for today’s end game belongs with news outlets that should have assiduously ignored the hacked information.  By paying attention to it, they signaled to every hacker in the world, whether individual, NGO, or government, that hacks can be used to blackmail institutions, because the media will gleefully participate in the hack by disseminating stolen information.

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[VIDEOS] Without religious institutions, what guides people in a democracy?

Michaelangelo hands of God and AdamCaped Crusader sent me this really amazing video about the fact that organized religion (of the Judeo-Christian variety) is an essential element of a functioning democracy:

Somehow Dennis Prager’s video about the true meaning of the Third Commandment (and it’s not just that we shouldn’t say “Oh, my God!”) seems like a very appropriate companion piece:

The Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers some helpful advice for those who really want to help Palestinians

The Bookworm Beat 12/17/14 — The illustrated edition and Open Thread

Another day, another trip to the doctor with my mother. This is a trip that, I hope, should leave her feeling much better. She has no cartilage left in one of her shoulders, so any movement means that her bones are grinding against each other. Indeed, when I hold her hand to help her get in and out of the car, I can feel that grinding bones vibrate down her arm. It’s creepy for me and extremely painful for her. Today, though, she gets a cortisone shot, so she should be feeling much less pain in a couple of days.

Meanwhile . . . posters and cartoons, with the usual thanks to Caped Crusader:

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Open Thread: Normalizing relations with Cuba

cuban-missle-crisis-ffThis is an Open Thread about Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba. I’m woefully uninformed about the entire Cuba story, going back to Kennedy, so I don’t yet have an opinion and would very much like to hear from you.

I know, of course, that Cuba is an oppressive totalitarian regime that marches hand in hand with like-minded regimes around the world, but that hasn’t stopped us from having diplomatic relationships with those countries. Why is Cuba different, then, and why do you think Obama’s abrupt volte face in American policy is a good idea or bad idea?

Nominees for Weasel of the Week

It’s time for the Watcher’s Council to vote for the weasel of the week.  I’m sorry to say that voting is limited to Council members, but see what you think of these aspirants to the weekly Hall of Shame:

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It’s time again for the Watcher’s Council’s ‘Weasel Of The Week’ nominations, where we pick our choices to compete for Award the famed Golden Weasel to a public figure who particularly deserves to be slimed and mocked for his or her dastardly deeds during the week. Every Tuesday morning, tune in for the Weasel of the Week nominations and check back Thursday to see which Weasel gets the votes and walks off with the statuette of shame!

Here are this weeks’ nominees:

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The Bookworm Beat 12/16/14 — Smells like Tuesday edition and Open Thread

Woman writingThe 21st century version of “The dog ate my homework.”

We have two new entries today in the continuing saga of Ivy League and affluent college students trying to delay taking exams on account of their being traumatized by Darren Wilson’s acquittal and Eric Garner’s deaths and their being exhausted by the physical and emotional burdening of taking to the streets to protest those two traumas. The first entry is an overwrought, horribly written, and horribly reasoned essay by a young man who styles himself as a third year Harvard Law Student and editor of Harvard’s Law Review. John Hinderaker fisks this horrible effluvia, so I don’t have to.

I have only one thing to add . . . well, actually two. First, Obama was once a third year Harvard Law Student and editor of the Harvard Law Review. Second, if those two law students — who are separated by more than 20 years — are representative of Harvard Law School I have been right all along in believing that people go into Harvard Law reasonably smart and come out manifestly dumb and, too often, unprincipled.

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Book Review: C.G. Cooper’s Corps Justice novels are well-plotted, enjoyable thrillers

Carlos Cooper

C. G. Cooper, author of the Corps Justice series

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time about a thriller series that was fast and fun to read. I stumbled across C. G. Cooper’s Corps Justice series through BookBub’s daily email telling me about Amazon book deals. My practice is that, if a free book listed in BookBub looks even remotely interesting, I download it onto my Kindle. After all, since it’s free, no harm, no foul, right?

Of course, an awful lot of the time, free books are free because no one in their right mind could possibly want to buy the darn things. They’re horribly written, horribly plotted, or horribly proof-read — or sometimes a combination of all three.

However, sometimes a free book is a wonderful little marketing surprise. My assumption is that these books are marketed as free or very cheap (usually 99 cents) to function as loss leaders. After all, if you move enough books (even if you’re giving them away), you’ll still rise up in the all-important Amazon sales ranking chart.

Which gets me to C. G. Cooper’s Corps Justice novels, the first three books of which are currently available for free. The books are thrillers that feature veterans (mostly Marines) working together to foil dastardly plots against America. The two main characters are Cal Stokes, a former Marine whose father founded a hugely successful security company, and his friend Daniel Briggs, who is also a former Marine, and whose story is told here. The other recurring characters are mostly Marines, although there are vets from other branches of the service, as well as a resident computer genius.

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[VIDEO] You’ve got to hear this: A rant on black culture and Democrats that ought to go viral

This gal identifies herself as “Honestly Speaking” and, boy, does she speak honestly. She tells “her people” that she’s not a “race traitor” for demanding that black people listen to their best angels, rather than their worst demons. She also explains, with great detail, why she’s a Republican. I wish there where millions of this lady all across America:

Hat tip: Navy One